The dubious media claims of cause and effect in politics

We are currently being inundated with polls and it is easy to become overwhelmed, with the risk of whiplash as one poll jerks you one way to be followed immediately by another in a different direction. The media will highlight any new poll, especially if it is a surprising outlier, and even more so if it supports their desired narrative of a close race, thus whipping up interest in following the news. [Read more…]

Home video proves Obama born in Kenya!

Conservative circles are buzzing at the release of a new home video that was taken by Barack Obama’s father during his actual birth. Although old and grainy, the video clearly shows a white woman giving birth to a baby, with Obama’s mother’s name (Ann Dunham) on her chart, her photo, a calendar open to the month of August 1961, and a flag of Kenya. This proves beyond any reasonable doubt that Obama was born in Kenya. [Read more…]

The bad stuff from ‘the good book’

The Maryland Marriage Alliance, the group leading the effort against the referendum that grants equal rights to same-sex marriages in that state, has been careful to try and not appear to be religious hatemongers, arguing that they do not oppose gays or gay rights in general, but that their goal is limited to only objecting to extending marriage to cover their unions. [Read more…]

Copyright and fair use

The rules about what you can legally use of other people’s creative work are not very well defined. ‘Fair use’ guidelines depend on judgments about what fraction of the work is used and whether it is being used for commercial purposes, with educational use getting more leeway, but there are no formulas that can be used and each time must be judged on a case-by-case basis. [Read more…]

Rape as god’s will

The statistics on rape in the US are truly horrible. On average, a woman is raped every two minutes and every year about 32,000 women get pregnant because of rape. One needs to keep those numbers in mind to understand why Republican Senate candidates like Richard Mourdock (who thinks that rape is god’s will) and Todd Akin keep saying these crazy things that either minimize rape or suggest that women were asking for it or simply have to deal with the consequences. They cannot stomach allowing that many abortions. And they are by no means the only such people in the Republican party. [Read more…]